I haven’t done one of these Q&A’s in a while, so when I was invited to join in on the tour by Kim of MuseCraft, it was hard to resist. This blog tour has been going on for a while, and everyone who participates gets to invite others, so there are lots of links to follow back through the tour… to which I say : EYECANDY!!! Go check it out!
So without further ado, the four questions about myself:
What am I working on?
I’ve always got a bunch of things going on, both in relation to my writing as well as my art stuffs.
I’m working on two main writing projects at the moment. I’m working on a story called The Incredible Virtues of Cauliflower. Initially I was going to write it as a screenplay but I’m just going to get the sucker out and then figure out what to do with it – at the moment it looks to be novella length. It’s like birthing a child, this. The story is about a guy who falls in love with a woman after he sees her through a telescope.
The other writing project is my little mostly visual story of Darika. This poor li’l story has been in production for ages – far too long to not be embarrassed by the languidness of its unfolding, but it’s my story (“Darika” is an anagram of my own nickname as a child) and it’s sort of a mythologized autobiography of how I discovered art as a child and how it continues to support me throughout every step of my life.
I am also developing a 52-week program (which I intend to freely disseminate under the inspiration tab of my website – though tips are welcome, if people are moved to contribute) which will approach creating as a form of meditative practice. It’s meant to be used as a way to reach personal and individual inner wisdom rather than a “do this to get that” thing. You become your own facilitator by finding your own way to your creative process.
I’ve been doing this on and off for a long while (it’s my set-point when I am in flow) and when ever I’ve fallen out of this groove I find I also lose my centre. I feel compelled to share this with the world, and it may not be anything new, per se, especially since so much of this is an integration of different processes that I’ve learnt over the years, but perhaps the combination is unique to me.
I recently made a tiny book called How to Navigate Loss. Inspired by Maya Stein’s prompt (of the title) I made the first one for her tiny book library and then decided that I ought to make a more refined version and offer it up as a limited edition. The books are tiny little works of art with a beautiful, healing message, hand made as they are ordered and only a limited number will be available.
I also just built a new Wix website and now that I have a quasi-shop space, I feel compelled to develop things to put up in there. Aside from the Tiny Book, as well as some other handmade items (some jewelry pieces, small original paintings, etc.), I’m in the process of conceptualizing some patterns for fingerless mitts/cuffs, and I plan to sell both the patterns and the actual wearables so that people can either make it themselves or buy the ready-made stuff if they are not DIY-inclined. I’m also working on putting together some images for greeting cards or little art prints. I will use a third-party for the production/shipping of the paper goods because I’m just not set up at the moment to do it myself, but at least I’ll start getting my stuff out there.
And finally, inspired by Squam Art Workshops (which I can’t currently and may never be able to afford to attend), I’m plotting “The Amazing PJ Getaway in the Great Wet North” for next spring (April). I have a couple of friends already on board… more are welcome (though no more than eight, because then it’s just going to be outta control space-wise). But plotting course/share offerings, goodie/trade bags, local walkabouts, radical quasi-rituals, and menu massaging… because food must be good/healthy/indulgent…! The event will be free except for pitching in for materials and food and whatever related airfare will cost to get here, if travelling from afar. And pyjamas and an open spirit are a requisite.
Aside from that I’m always thinking things up and making stuff. I can’t help it.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’m not really sure. I tend to take in what others are doing kind of like enjoying a nice piece of fruit and I don’t often compare my own work to what everyone else is doing, so I’m not really sure how it differs or is similar. I do make an effort to be original in content and execution, but I’ve been creating for so long now that I imagine my stuff must look unique to some extent.
I just do and make and create and hope that it offers my own perspective and that the flavour of my essence comes through in my art and words.
Why do I write/create what I do?
So for me the point of all of this is to express… paint the picture of yourself, continuously. It’s through that act of self-expression that we come to know our ever-changing selves. And the expression is the beauty – the beautiful thing to behold. It’s a shifting masterpiece, a performance piece.
Creation encompasses everything, not just the arts but… how we roll out of bed is a dance, the angle we fill the kettle with water at the sink is a sculptural study, the movement of our feet against the pavement a moving syncopated sound composition, how bodies of people acknowledge each other while crossing from opposite sides of the intersection a choreography of movement.
It’s all so fascinating at that level.
Yeah, sometimes the mundane shit wears us down because we stop being present and want to be elsewhere, but as soon as you pull the focus back to the doing, it becomes this amazing dance again, a co-creative symphony of movement and creation.
How does your writing/creating process work?
It depends on which part we are talking about, and which form. I could drive myself mad with all of the ideas always flowing through, especially if I tried pursuing them simultaneously.
So when I get an idea I jot it down in my iNotes (how cool is Cloud computing?!). The notes transfer to all my devices so I have access to all of my little ideas where ever I am. I add to them as things occur to me. When there’s enough there, or I feel moved to push the concept further, I start working on it in earnest.
Poetry flows of its own volition. Very rarely do I sit down to specifically compose poems. They come like a sirocco wind and blow through me. I remember hearing about how Ruth Stone explained her experience and thought “yes, exactly!”. Grab that sucker by its’ tail.
My other, lengthier, writing starts with idea kernels that I let incubate until they are ready to come to life on the page and develop into bigger stories. I’ve tried over the years to be more disciplined in my writing (i.e., create an outline, make character sketches, etc.) but I’m just not there yet. Maybe I’ll never be. I know who the characters are because I carry them inside me and they become “real” to me as the story incubates. I have an idea of where I want to take the story and then let it write itself. I “see” my stories in my head unfolding like a movie, reel-by-reel, scene by scene. I just capture what comes through.
What I have done, though, in the way of being more disciplined, is to deliberately create a space container to allow for the words to manifest. If you don’t make the time and merely wait until the words are ready to come spilling out, you will be waiting a long time. The French have this saying… l’appétit vient en mangeant – your hunger will grow once you start eating the meal.
The visual stuff is similar, but again, it depends on what I’m creating. Because I make so many different things I operate differently for each. Making a beaded necklace will be approached differently than working in a visual journal. However, what is the same in all of these is that I allow myself to tap into the stillness inside and let it speak in the creative process. I sort of step out of the way and let this non-rational part pick colours and beads and paints and collage materials and techniques and create. It truly feels like a sort of out-of-body experience and a dance with the divine. When I’m in that space it’s exhilarating and I often look at what I’ve created in the end and think “wow… I did that?!”.
So that’s me, in a nutshell. Now on to the next part – I get to introduce you to some other creatives who agreed to join in on this journey. Go visit their websites/blogs/FB pages and see what they’re up to, and make sure to check in next Monday (June 16) for their blog tour posts.
Anastasia is a jewellery designer and metal alchemist extraordinaire, creating artisan jewellery that is unique and organic – but with a polished sophistication – meticulously handcrafted in sterling silver, copper, brass and gemstones.
You can find Ana online on Facebook and at her website.
Belle Wong is a writer and blogger. She writes about books, writing and creativity at MsBookish.com, and is currently hard at work on a mystery novel and a children’s fantasy. She loves reading and anything to do with creativity, is a closet foodie, and has been known to dabble messily in various artsy endeavours.
Belle can be found on Twitter at @msbookish and on Google+.
Lisa Gornicki Bolender
Lisa is a self-proclaimed creative wanderer living in Southern California, making art and coaching creative souls.
You can find Lisa online her website.